This is the story of Dick Xxxxx, an 86 year old man, paralyzed on his right side from a previous stroke. Proud and independent, he lived alone in a rural town on the south end of Hawaii Island and participated in senior activities until he was hospitalized (due to ______).
By 2020, one out of every four people in Hawai‘i will be 60 years or older. It is expected that between 2020 to 2030 the growth in the number of older adults 60 years of age and older in the State of Hawaii will increase by 17% and represent 28% of the State’s total population. In addition, there will be a 31.7% increase in older adults 85 years of age and older over the next 10 years between 2020 to 2030. In Hawaiʻi County it is expected to triple from the years 2000 to 2030 to almost 80,000 older adults.
Once released, my friend took over his care. Later, he fell and hit his head, an emergency room CT scan showing a brain abnormality. He was admitted to the hospital, where an MRI showed a glioblastoma tumor, deep in his brain. He was life-flighted to Maui.
While Hawai`i’s older adults enjoy long lives, 87% of older adults have one or more chronic conditions. Chronic disease prevalence of Hawai`i’s older adults differs by ethnicity. Native Hawaiians and Filipinos have higher prevalence of diabetes, while Caucasians have higher incidences of cancers, and the Japanese have higher prevalence of hypertension. Hawaii County Office of Aging (HCOA) estimates that consumers in need of services will grow 3% each year.
My friend followed to Maui, where she learned that Dick had been given two to four months to live. At this point it was clear they needed to find a place for him to stay. They started looking for hospice homes, long term care facilities, rehab facilities–any place where he could live and be cared for. Not a single bed was available on Maui or on Hawaii. They exhausted every lead.
According to a recent study published in the JAMA journal, Hawai`i has the longest life expectancy (81.3 years of age) of any State in United States. Hawai`i was considered one of the healthiest states in the U.S. for several years with only 19% of its population being obese which is the lowest in the nation. In addition, only about 17% of the population smokes. Programs for Hawai`i’s older adults are available through statewide and local agencies (see reference below)
Finally a bed became available at the north end of Hawaii. They went there, where they were greeted by a woman who asked if Dick had income. I told her he had Social Security and told her the amount. “We’ll take it all,” she replied. Dick was put in a bed where all he could do was stare at a blank wall.
Ka’u District offer Senior Housing in Pahala operated by Hawaii Housing Authority. It is nearly renovated and open for applicants. There will be 24 units. Rent is 30 percent of income. To apply, call Hawaii Public Housing Authority at 808-933-0474. To read more http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2019/12/kau-news-briefs-wednesday-december-11.html?m=1
Fortunately, a relative in Washington agreed to have him live in her home for the remainder of his days. Those less fortunate might have to just curl up on the grim reaper’s doormat. Interesting that none of the care-giving locations my friend contacted referred her to the Hawaii County Office of Aging.
Hawaii County Office of Aging (HCOA) is located 1055 Kino`ole Street, Suite 101 Hilo, HI 96720. Christian Alameda, County Executive Telephone: (808) 961-8600
In 2018, the The Hawaii State Department of Health, Executive Office on Aging (EOA) received a total of $19,269,823 in appropriations resulting in 12,100,000 (63%) in appropriations from State funds and $7,169,823 (37%) in appropriations from federal funds for services enabling older adults to remain in their homes and communities. These funds were used to support the following Kupuna Care (KC) core services (read more page 15 of State Plan)
Hawaii State Plan on Aging for 2019 – 2023, programs on pages 16-18 https://www.hawaiiadrc.org/Portals/_AgencySite/State%20Plan/StatePlanOnAging2019_2023.pdf
Hawaii County Office of Aging Plan for 2015-2019, programs and Acute, Long-Term Care Institutional, and Facility Care are listed on pages 33-41 https://www.hawaiiadrc.org/Portals/_AgencySite/AAA%20Plans/Hawaii%202015-2019%20Area%20Plan%20REVISED.pdf